At a time when the STEM field is ruling the roost in global employment generation, it is necessary to understand the importance of social science education
The first thing that the Indian parents of today ask when they hear their children telling them that they want to study humanities-
“What is the salary that you wil earn”?
The other usual reactions are these-
“Social sciences are useless, they won’t help you establish a secure future”.
“Engineering, medical, management are the best fields, social sciences are a waste of time”.
All these apprehensions are true to some extent.
It is also true that the employment and earning potential of a social science graduate is much lower compared to other fields, but understand this-
Social sciences are fundamental to our understanding of the society, in that context let’s understand the meaning & importance of education in the social sciences.
Social Sciences-Understanding its Meaning
You might wonder what really are social sciences, why is it called a science after all.
Social sciences denote those subjects that have the society, its constituents and institutions as units of inspection.
It includes disciplines like Political Science, History, Philsophy, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, English etc.
It is a science because of the tendency of a section of social scientists, particularly the behaviouralists to scienticize the discipline.
Behaviouralists included Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton etc who emphasised the need to inculcate the experimentation and principles of natural sciences in the realm of social sciences.
The objective was to make social sciences quantifiable and observable.
Importance of Study
The importance of social sciences education are as follows-
Firstly, it helps an individual to understand their roots, it helps in the exploration of an individual’s actual identity. An individual without any roots is a rootless, rudderless human being.
That is why the study of history is so critical, as thinkers like J Sai Deepak, Ranajit Guha, Vikram Sampath argue.
Secondly, it helps the mindset of the people who constitute the society at large.
For example-the study of Niccolo Machiavelli’s view on human nature helps to understand how materialistic, perverted, shrewd, narcissistic can be.
Similarly, John Locke’s understanding of human nature helps one to understand the positive aspect of human nature.
Understanding human nature is a critical part of psychology, especially social psychology. This is something that psychologists like Dr Jordan Peterson, Joshua Greene have helped us to understand.
Thirdly, it helps individuals to become more socially aware. For example- understanding the nuances of caste, religion, tribe, race in subjects like sociology, political science etc help in tackling global discrimination and biasness that is anchored in human prejudice.
While you, the parents, encourage your children to take up STEM field, do not forget the importance of social science education, it will make your child a better human being.